1995 Birkbys Scotland Opens
strategic decision was made to fully support the Scottish Business Electronic
markets by opening a sister site to the historic Liversedge site. The initial
part of this strategy was completed in 1995 with the opening of a 4500sq metres
purpose built factory in Glenrothes, Fife.
1990 Marubeni and Birkbys
1989 GEC - Siemens
Corporation, one of the largest trading companies in the world succeeded in
buying Birkbys. The investments made since this time have been substantial. More
than a dozen new injection moulding machines were added extending the press
range to 1800t. Extensive investments in Computer Aided Design (CAD),new
assembly lines and water based painting systems were made and we now have 28,000
sq. metres of covered site at Liversedge.
By 1989 Plessey, Birkbys
Parent Company lost their fight against take over from the combined GEC - Siemens
company. The take over of Plessey had to be ratified by the European Commission,
splitting up various divisions so that neither GEC or Siemens had a monopoly in Defence, Avionics, Telecommunications or Electronics. Birkbys Plastics fitted
into neither company strategy and GEC decided to put Birkbys Plastics up for
Sale once more.
1983-4 Re-focusing - major investment
this period the company refocussed the business direction. Major investments
were made in plant and machinery.
Birkbys further developed the relationship
with Ford, who were at that time reducing their suppliers. Birkbys obtained all
Ford instrumentation business- Clusters, Backplates, Clear Lenses, together with
all the dial parts. During the latter part of the 1980's Birkbys were providing
up to 8500 sets of cluster parts daily.
The success of the Ford Birkbys relationship was due to a positive attitude
from both companies to succeed. Birkbys investment in new presses, cleaner
working areas and the introduction of Statistical Process Control, eventually
across the whole factory, was rewarded by the increase in business and Q1 status
In 1984 further extensions were made to the production facilities, toolroom
and a new technology centre was created. This latter building, besides housing
the Laboratory and Metrology Department, was equipped with the first plastic
injection moulding Computer Aided Design facility in the UK. Birkbys were at the
forefront of development not only in Europe but Worldwide. Ford invited Birkbys
to design an Accelerator Pedal in Plastic - prototype samples were produced in
12 weeks, and at the 1990 interplas Show the design won a major design award.
This business developed across a range of cars and over 25 million pedals have
1980-2 Big change at Birkbys
Due to the
economic depression Plessey needed to rationalise a number of their businesses
particularly those outside their core markets of Defense, Electronics, and
1975 Reverting back to Birkbys Plastics
decided to buyout Birkby Viking Ltd. and revert back to Birkbys Plastics Ltd.
During this time the Post Office business began to place large contracts.
1974 Closure of Theromoset Mouldings
The last link with the original Birkbys' involvement in
Phenolics was cut when the Thermoset Moulding Shop was closed. This was due to
Birkbys major customers change in requirements.
Before the Thermoset moulding Shop closed Birkbys engineers and The Post
Office designed a Terminal Block which became known as the Test Jack. The Test
Jack had 100 line positions, in the past the same area could only hold 40 lines.
This was a tremendous breakthrough for the telephone exchanges. This product was
hugely successful for over 10 years and was sold as far away Nigeria, Saudi
Arabia and Hong Kong.
1972 Merger with Viking Industrial
Birkbys Viking Ltd. was created in July 1972, Plessey
maintained their major shareholding. Birkbys business consisted predominantly of
telephones and electrical appliances and some automotive business, Viking
produced domestic appliances and leisure industries, products included record
and speaker cabinets, bathroom fittings etc.
Shortly after the announcement
of the merger a decision was made to close Vikings other plastics company at
Broadstairs and move all business to the Liversedge site. This meant the
business grew to 20,000 square metres with 125 thermoset presses and 80 thermo
Some of the new business had to be finished with paint and
the old resin building was used to house a water backed paint spray booth, to
enable Birkbys to use polyurethane paints. This paint facility would be further
expanded on many occasions over the next 25 years.
1970 The end of Resin and Powders Department
During the 1970's the thermoplastics business began to eat in to
the thermoset business. Although generally, engineering type thermoplastics were
more expensive than thermoset materials, they could be processed far quicker and
were more versatile with greater emphasis on the design to meet the requirement
of the part, and the thermoplastic could be more economical.
manufacture ceased in 1969 this was followed by the closure of the moulding
department in 1973.
1961 The Plessey Era
Within three years of AT
and E purchasing Birkbys, they were taken over by the Plessey Company. The
Plessey Company made no changes to Birkbys and almost unknowing acquired a
separate moulding facility as well as an established customer base.
The Plessey ownership was to last over 28 years and was to see the sales and
turnover increase tenfold. The name Birkbys was dropped for a few years during
the Plessey years but was soon brought back once it was realised it was too to
well established in customer's minds.
1959 New Thermoplastic Moulding Shop
AT and E
provided a new and purpose built thermoplastic injection shop of over 200 square
1958 Purchase by A T and E
Telephone and Electric Company a major customer since the 1930's took the
opportunity to buy Birkbys Plastics during the 1950's.
AT &E provided a
major investment which was required to support the rapidly growing telephone
market and many other applications where the new thermoplastic material could be
used. Although Birkbys Plastics Ltd. was at the forefront of this technology the
cash injection was to provide new buildings and support for the future.
1930's The recognition of Plastics
a founder member of the British Plastic Moulding Trade Association.
1926 Formation of Birkbys Plastics Ltd
Beiver Birkby and Thomas Beaumont Birkby created Birkbys Ltd with just two